Title page for ETD etd-10092012-101807

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Gouws, Anjo-Mari
Email gouws.anjomari@gmail.com
URN etd-10092012-101807
Document Title Being-towards-death : Heideggerian ontology in selected films of Michael Haneke
Degree Master of Arts
Department Visual Arts
Advisor Name Title
Prof D Goosen Co-Supervisor
Prof A du Preez Supervisor
  • Benny’s Video
  • being-with-others
  • existentialism
  • the nothing
  • being-in-the-world
  • thrownness
  • being
  • ontology
  • being-towards-death
  • Martin Heidegger
  • Michael Haneke
  • Der Siebente Kontinent
  • anxiety
  • Vergletscherung-trilogie
  • 71 Fragmente einer Chronologie des Zufalls
  • Caché
  • La Pianiste
  • Funny Games
Date 2012-09-13
Availability unrestricted
This study investigates certain existential themes found in the work of Austrian director Michael Haneke. As such the focus is on the existential philosophy of Martin Heidegger, specifcally Heidegger’s notion of Being as always being-towards-death. There are six flms under discussion – the three flms comprising his Vergletscherung-trilogie (Der Siebente Kontinent, Benny’s Video and 71 Fragmente einer Chronologie des Zufalls), and his later flms Funny Games, La Pianiste, and Caché.

Michael Haneke has been lauded as “Austria’s most esteemed and most controversial active flmmaker” (Frey 2003:1), a director whose work transgresses the boundaries of mainstream flm in terms of both its form and content. In fact, the director argues, he is responsible for “rap[ing] the spectator to independence”. Haneke’s work features a solid measure of existential themes, examining the alienation and isolation of the individual, the despair brought on by the monotony of modern society, and the seeming meaninglessness of man’s existence. This study aims to show that much of Haneke’s existential thought can be drawn back to Heidegger’s concept of Being, and the various ways in which Being is constituted. Focusing particularly on the notion of Being as being-towards-death, two other constitutive elements are also included – Being as always being-in-the-world and Being as always being-with-others. Being-in-the-world is examined on two fronts, looking at Haneke’s treatment of the public space, and of the domestic setting of the home. Beingwith- others is likewise elucidated in terms of the perspective Haneke offers on society as Heidegger’s Das Man, and the more intimate relationships within the family unit. By coupling these elements with Heidegger’s notions of thrownness, anxiety and the nothing, this study thus investigates how Haneke’s rendition of being-in-the-world and being-withothers inevitably, and fundamentally, means being-towards-death.

© 2012 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Gouws, A-M 2012, Being-towards-death : Heideggerian ontology in selected films of Michael Haneke, MA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-10092012-101807/ >


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